Torture? What Torture?

From Other Lisa…

From Reuters:

The White House on Friday threatened to veto a $440.2 billion defense spending bill in the Senate because it wasn’t enough money for the Pentagon and also warned lawmakers not to add any amendments to regulate the treatment of detainees or set up a commission to probe abuse.

Last summer, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and John Warner of Virginia and others sought legislation banning cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners.

After all, why should the White House care what a former POW who experienced torture first-hand thinks? Private Lynndie England’s been convicted; that takes care of the problem, right?

What does this administration have to fear, anyway?

The Discussion: 34 Comments

Because the Executive not the Legislative branch exercises command over the armed forces, you grat silly cow, and legislation of the type you suggest blurs lines of command and puts troops at risk.

October 2, 2005 @ 11:34 pm | Comment

Conrad, if you could ever argue without insulting, I might be inclined to take you seriously. But obviously, this is beyond you.

Here’s the thing. People who habitually attack, insult and distort do so for two reasons. They are deeply insecure, unhappy, angry little people who can’t stand anything they perceive as a challenge to their fragile little egos.

And in cases like this, they don’t have a moral leg to stand on.

I’m sorry you are such an unhappy little man.

October 2, 2005 @ 11:49 pm | Comment

Hey Richard, note that I waited to see if I’d get that apology. Not that I was holding my breath or anything.

October 2, 2005 @ 11:53 pm | Comment

See below, your apology will be deliverd by winged pigs flying over the frozen landscape of hell.

Very telling how you are lobbying Richard to ban me rather than fight your own battle.

Pathetic really.

October 3, 2005 @ 12:05 am | Comment

Conrad, I did not suggest that Richard ban you. It’s really up to him. You are however violating the very reasonable rules of this site. You gratuitously insult the site owners and administrators. Why you think you should be allowed to get away with it when others can’t is just another example of your completely unwarranted sense of entitlement. What in the world makes you think your opinion is so important or profound that you should be allowed to spew whatever bullshit you need to get yourself off for the moment?

You can say whatever you want. it only reveals what a sad, twisted little man you are. No wonder you are always going on about hookers.

October 3, 2005 @ 12:18 am | Comment

Okay, this is really too nasty. Conrad, all I ask is that you stop with those malicious personal attacks. Lisa’s obviously mad (who can blame her?) but remember, you drew first blood with the name calling. So just tone it down and be civil. Whatever happened to serious dialogue?

October 3, 2005 @ 12:26 am | Comment

And you what? I’m not going to apologize. It’s very unlike me. But I held off until now. I would have let it drop. But people don’t just get to say whatever they want whenever they feel like it and expect that I’m going to roll over and play nice all the time.

October 3, 2005 @ 12:29 am | Comment

Conrad’s argument that “the executive, not the legislative branch exercises control over the armed forces” is tendentious and sophistic.
Consider the obivous here:

If you want to pretend that the Armed Forces are not under any kind of control by Congress – if you want to drool over Commander Codpiece swanning around like a Toy Soldier – then fine. But then, they get no money from Congress either.

Congress controls all the finances.
Simple as that. You cut Congress out and you cut the money off.
And this was a fiscal bill, with some proposed amendments and requirements just like ALL fiscal bills have.

Sorry, the US is not a tin-pot military dictatorship where the head of state exerts a principally military role. The US President has always been intended to be a Civilian, and to behave like one.

October 3, 2005 @ 12:59 am | Comment

Thank you, Ivan.

October 3, 2005 @ 1:03 am | Comment

Also, even if Bush wants to claim absolute authority over the military, if he had just a shred of dignity he would have followed the moral authority of Senator John McCain in this instance.

I don’t agree with everything McCain says or does, but when it comes to military conduct – and torture – McCain has earned a hell of a lot of authority after he spent five years in the Hanoi Hilton while Commander Codpiece was stateside snorting coke.

October 3, 2005 @ 1:30 am | Comment


Conrad’s line: “legislation of the type you suggest blurs the lines of command.”


Legislation about TORTURE, blurs the lines of COMMAND?

That only makes sense if you assume orders to torture are part of the command structure.

Good GOD!

October 3, 2005 @ 1:38 am | Comment

Ivan, that was my point, before I got sidetracked. The fact that the Bush Administration refuses to allow any independent investigation of the “abuse” that’s already occurred suggests to me that they are very worried about having their existing policies examined. Why so worried, if you haven’t done anything wrong?

October 3, 2005 @ 1:40 am | Comment

They like torture, Ivan. They get off on it.

October 3, 2005 @ 1:41 am | Comment

As I read Conrad’s comment, I have to agree with him that regulating the treatment of detainees is the Executive’s job, subject to intervention by the judiciary, which so far has not happened, which may be why Sen. McCain sought to get the legislature involved. But as to the legislature’s powers to set up a commission to probe abuse, I would see that as clearly within their power, particularly since no state of war has ever been declared. (Gee, I wonder whose fault that is?)

October 3, 2005 @ 2:24 am | Comment

Under historic precident and international law, the leaders of the US and the UK are both war criminals, and would have no doubt been sentenced to death had they been brought before the Neuremberg comittee, which both contries advocated.

Instead they swan around the place saying that they are acting in the best interests of the world and are doing what is neccisary to protect their own people. If this isn’t world class hypocracy, I don’t know what is.

People have been humiliated, tortured and even murdered in detention, why are heads not rolling? why isn’t this being settled in an international court?

October 3, 2005 @ 3:07 am | Comment


As an American who knows a few things about law, I can tell you, you’re absolutely correct.

At the Nuremberg trial, the American prosecutor Jackson went on record saying that the trials would all be for nothing unless they set a precedent to put ALL future war criminals on trial, including Americans if necessary.

I’m angry at the Bush administration for many reasons, but the main one is that THIS war is the FIRST war America ever started, I mean the first war of naked, lawless American aggression in history. (Leaving aside the wars against the Indians, which don’t quite fit into conventional international law.)

Specifically, this was the first time the US ever started a total war against an internationally recognized, sovereign state. Viet Nam doesn’t count – it was stupid but South Viet Nam was a recognized sovereign state which invited the US (and we were fools to go there, but not criminals to go there.)

All previous wars between the US and other sovereign states involved SOME kind of casus belli, at least some kind of authentic legal justification for going to war. But not Iraq.

I want Bush to live for a long time so that I can see him put on trial for war crimes, to restore America’s honor.

October 3, 2005 @ 3:57 am | Comment

So, the Bush administration is equivalent to Adoph Hitler and the Nazis. Fuck, Richard you have some incredibly, indefensibly stupid readers.

October 3, 2005 @ 5:33 am | Comment


I always hestitate to call any lawyer’s qualifications into question.
But after your last comment, now I will ask:

What kind of lawyer are you?

IF you are a real lawyer, then YOU, Conrad, YOU of ALL people, must know the difference between personal comparisons and legal comparisons.]

This is part of the ESSENCE of being a lawyer, Conrad: To make distinctions between the Person and the Law. All REAL lawyers know this, and always follow this custom.

I say: Bush is not like Hitler. Bush is far, FAR LESS intelligent than Hitler.
And Hitler was a man of great courage, unlike Bush. Hitler fought honorably in the First World War, and he saved the lives of his comrades during combat – UNLIKE Bush.

Hitler improved his country’s economy for the first several years when he was head of state – UNLIKE Bush!

Hitler was an ingenious statesman who advanced and promoted the interests of his country for many years, UNLIKE Bush!

But, under the Law, Hitler and Bush have ONE thing in common:

They both started illegal wars of naked aggression.

October 3, 2005 @ 7:43 am | Comment

I wouldn’t put it quite that way, Conrad, but maybe you should explain why they’re wrong instead of hurling insults.

October 3, 2005 @ 8:18 am | Comment

PS, Conrad,

You counted me among “incredibly, indefensibly stupid readers”

Those are fighting words to me, Conrad.

So, now, I ask Richard to forgive me while I reply to this very personal invitation to a fight:

Conrad, I’ve wiped the floor with lesser men than you, lesser both in mind and in body. And you seem to be a Marine – so it seems – but you know, all REAL Marines know when to shut the f— up and take their lumps when they step out of line.
And all REAL Marines know, that there’s always someone stronger than you, waiting for you out there. That’s why all REAL Marines avoid picking fights. If you ever learned anything in the Marines, you should have learned that. Seems that you didn’t learn. Seems that you’re not really a Marine.

And all REAL Marines hate bullies.
You are a bully, Conrad. No REAL Marine would EVER insult a Lady like Lisa – least of all on the internet where you can’t fight her face to face.
This is NOT the conduct of a US Marine, Conrad!!!!!!!!

Um, Conrad….

…I want to keep my anonymity here.
But I have published, inter alia, at Oxford University and – I would wager, a thousand to one – that I’ve had the ear of a Western head of state more often than you ever had.
So much for your shit about me being
“incredibly, indefensibly stupid.” Same goes for Lisa, who – in my estimation, with my government certified IQ of (somewhere well above 145) – Lisa always seems to me, to be FAR more intelligent than you, Conrad.

Part of my training has been to estimate intelligence, to estimate IQs.
Conrad, I was trained how to do this, and I estimate Lisa at around 180, and you at about 110. You are just intelligent enough to be a good brass button officer or NCO, at least while you’re being watched and carefully controlled by better officers.

(Sorry, Richard, for being a bit catty here, but now I know how Lisa feels when a second rate “lawyer” challenges her intelligence and her dignity.)

And Conrad, for all of your stories about exploiting the vulnerable peasant girls of Asia, I can see that you’ll never have any White Royal Blood Honey like I’ve had….and you know why? NOT because you’re not White – but because you’re a vulgarian bully who does not deserve the name of US Marine….

….I’ve known some Upper Class English ladies who have had some Black lovers – some daughters of Lords, oh yes, some of them have lovers of ALL races – but they would NEVER dally with YOU, Conrad – because you’re just a vulgar, impertinent Jolly Jumper, a brass-button officer, and no decent woman will have you, unless she’s desperate to climb out of the rice paddies….

…stick to the desperate girls, Conrad.
There will always be some girls who are desperate enough to be impressed by your brass-button pretensions of being a Man worth anything more than a bowl of rice…..

….a lesser man than any US Marine.
Every REAL US Marine treats ALL women with respect, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, Conrad!

And so, I don’t know if you were ever in the Marines. Maybe you were. But clearly, you are not worthy of the name of United States Marine. You shame the Corps whenever you exploit any Woman, and when you insult Lisa from far away.

If you were ever a US Marine, it is clear that you are not one any longer, Conrad. Your conduct shames the Corps. You are not a Marine. If you ever were, you are not a Marine any longer. And you know what any real Marine would do to you, if he found out that you had been bullying and insulting women from far away. You wouldn’t be able to walk for a year.

As Marines say, “Paybacks a bitch”, ain’t it Conrad? And the Marines say, “You don’t want nothin? You don’t start nothin.” But you started it, Conrad. And payback’s a bitch.

October 3, 2005 @ 8:39 am | Comment

WOW! Now, for the first time in over a year, now I’ve finally had one of my comments on TPD “denied for questionable content.”


The censored comment was directed at Conrad.

And Richard, I salute you for running a tight ship, and for censoring me when I went too far. Good job, man.
We all need to find our boundaries sometimes, including me.

And Conrad can just guess what I said to him, which was automatically censored.


October 3, 2005 @ 10:09 am | Comment

Ivan, you flatter me. But not nearly as much as you flatter Conrad… ๐Ÿ˜‰

As for what kind of lawyer Conrad is, I expect he’s the kind who inspires all those jokes about a bus-full of lawyers at the bottom of the ocean.

October 3, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

Oh, and Ivan, I expect something in your comment to Conrad triggered the site’s automatic spam filter. It looks for certain keywords/phrases and rejects comments that contain them. Things like, “erect1Ie dysfunct1on,” for example.

October 3, 2005 @ 11:21 am | Comment

This is so entertaining! But seriously, Other Lisa, you remember when you were in 6th grade and the guys who liked you would express themselves by punching you or otherwise acting like jerks? Guys at that age are too immature to know how to act otherwise.

Draw your own conclusions.

October 3, 2005 @ 11:37 am | Comment

Hahah, Boo, that’s exactly what I said down the page in the “American heroism” thread…

October 3, 2005 @ 11:44 am | Comment

You must know the effect you have on men, Other Lisa! Conrad never stood a chance! ๐Ÿ˜‰

October 3, 2005 @ 12:15 pm | Comment


October 3, 2005 @ 12:55 pm | Comment

Ivan, you go boy. And if your comment gets censored, just email it to me and I’ll post it.

October 3, 2005 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

Just to dial down the temperature for a moment, it seems to me that Conrad’s comment is also simply wrong.

First, according to Military Legal Resources ( the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is the legal framework governing the conduct of American soldiers is a federal law enacted by Congress (the only body that can create federal legislation, of course).

Second, the very first line of the US enlistment oath ( is a vow to protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America, a document also enacted by Congress.

So it seems completely clear to me that while the executive branch of government has the legal authority to *command* troops (an executive authority if ever there was one), the legislative (and this should be clear by the fact that it’s called the “legislative” branch) has the right to create the legal framework within which the armed forces operate.

This doesn’t muddy the lines of command in the slightest bit. Command is executive. Operating framework and is legislative. In fact it seems completely sensible, and more-or-less exactly like what the drafters of our constitution were aiming for.

And, in fact, Congress has always been involved in regulating the behavior of American forces, seeing as how Congress is the body empowered to ratify treaties, including those governing the behavior of forces in war, such as the four Geneva Conventions.

Why this should be unclear to anyone, I don’t know. But, hey, perhaps I’m missing something. I’m just a flack and I don’t understand all this complex lawyerly stuff.

PS: Ivan, remind me never to p!ss you off!

October 3, 2005 @ 8:56 pm | Comment

Great work, Will. I wonder if Conrad will be back.

October 4, 2005 @ 2:55 am | Comment

I’d agree re Ivan. Like death by a thousand cuts and he seems to relish every single one of them…..

October 4, 2005 @ 3:59 am | Comment

Ivan, I don’t understand your “illegal war” point in reference to Bush. I would agree that from a constitutional perspective, we are illegally at war in that there has been no formal declaration of war by Congress and the President has plainly stepped beyond the parameters of a contingency operation short of war, but that would put him in the same league with Truman, Johnson, and Nixon. Hardly up on the scale with Hitler, who only brought his country to ruin no matter how many autobahns were built. And “naked aggression”? As opposed to half-naked aggression? Partially clothed aggression?

For all, I note that the Weekly Standard, hardly a Sontagian liberal rag, has published a piece arguing for Congress to get involved in defining standards of conduct for the treatment of detainees.

October 4, 2005 @ 6:22 pm | Comment

Notice who DOESN’T comment? Those that claim this is a racist, anti-Chinese site. This exchange that shows the US gov’t is held to the same standards of accountability as the Chinese regime puts the lie to that.
While there are similarities between Bush and Hitler ( contempt for international organisations, rejection of international obligations, specific rejection of Geneva convention, use of military action as a first recourse) to compare them is very specious and only plays into the hands of the opponents. Especially when it serves to add questionable attributes (Hitler’s ‘intelligence’) to a man who, in a dozen years, ran his country singlehandedly into the ground after claiming economic growth on the backs of the previous Weimer Republic.

October 6, 2005 @ 2:37 am | Comment


Out of real affection — in an entirely straight way, of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ — I’ll tone it down in future at your request.

However, before doing so, I will say, [edited by Richard] I have never employed a “hooker” in my life. On the other hand, I did work 500 pro bono hours last year in aid of the International Justice Mission ( which seeks to free the victims, and prosecute the perpitrators, of sexual trafficking. What have you done regarding the issue, except shoot off your mouth? I spent three weeks last year in friggin’ Calcutta, on my hliday time and at my own expense, teaching evidentiary requirements to investgators going undercover into brothels. Until you can say the same, kiss my [edited].

I’m happy to exchange insults with you, Lisa — or I was until richard asked me to stop — [edited].

Finally, as for what kind of lawyer I am: Harvard Law Review; law clerk on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals; Sullivan & Cromwell and Skadden Arps; visiting instructor on international commercial law at Fordham and Hong Kong University; Asian General Counsel for an investment bank and author of about 30 articles.

[Conrad, I have no choice but to edit you here, for the first and hopefully last time; just tone it down.]

October 7, 2005 @ 3:01 am | Comment

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